The World Republic of Letters

Front Cover
Harvard University Press, 2004 - History - 420 pages
2 Reviews

The "world of letters" has always seemed a matter more of metaphor than of global reality. In this book, Pascale Casanova shows us the state of world literature behind the stylistic refinements--a world of letters relatively independent from economic and political realms, and in which language systems, aesthetic orders, and genres struggle for dominance. Rejecting facile talk of globalization, with its suggestion of a happy literary "melting pot," Casanova exposes an emerging regime of inequality in the world of letters, where minor languages and literatures are subject to the invisible but implacable violence of their dominant counterparts.

Inspired by the writings of Fernand Braudel and Pierre Bourdieu, this ambitious book develops the first systematic model for understanding the production, circulation, and valuing of literature worldwide. Casanova proposes a baseline from which we might measure the newness and modernity of the world of letters--the literary equivalent of the meridian at Greenwich. She argues for the importance of literary capital and its role in giving value and legitimacy to nations in their incessant struggle for international power. Within her overarching theory, Casanova locates three main periods in the genesis of world literature--Latin, French, and German--and closely examines three towering figures in the world republic of letters--Kafka, Joyce, and Faulkner. Her work provides a rich and surprising view of the political struggles of our modern world--one framed by sites of publication, circulation, translation, and efforts at literary annexation.

  

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - profsuperplum - LibraryThing

“The purpose of this book is to restore a point of view that has been obscured for the mot part by the ‘nationalization’ of literatures and literary histories, to rediscover a lost transnational ... Read full review

Review: The World Republic of Letters (Convergences: Inventories of the Present)

User Review  - Stas - Goodreads

boring. some fun facts, but only occasionally. Offers platitudes as some new discoveries. Read full review

Contents

Principles of a World History of Literature
9
Literature Nation and Politics
34
How to Devour Latin
48
The Cult of Language
63
World Literary Space
82
Literary Nationalism
103
The Fabric of the Universal
126
The Importance of Being Universal
146
Literary Uses of the People
224
The Creation of Capitals
245
Thieves of Fire
259
Creators of Languages
274
Swiss Creoleness
296
The Irish Paradigm
303
The Revolutionaries
324
CONCLUSION THE WORLD AND THE LITERARY TROUSERS
348

From Internationalism to Globalization
164
Literary Destitution
177
National Aesthetics
196
The Need to Conform
209
No to
357
Index
403
Copyright

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About the author (2004)

Pascale Casanova is an associated researcher at the Center for Research in Arts and Language and a literary critic in Paris. She is the author of "Beckett the Abstractor" (Paris, 1997), winner of the Grand Prix de l'Essai de la Societe des Gens de Lettres.

Bibliographic information